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Lawmakers refuse to amend workplace harassment laws to protect students

Published Feb 27, 2017 05:22pm

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The Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights on Monday rejected a proposed amendment to the 'Women at Workplace' bill which sought punishment for those caught harassing women at educational institutions.

The suggested amendment, first presented in 2014, was discarded by the committee after three years of 'deliberations'.

Asiya Nasir, a member of the National Assembly, had moved 'The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces (Amendment) Bill 2014', arguing that educational institutions should also be included in the existing law against harassment.

“Let me tell you that the majority of harassment incidents take place in educational institutions. It is ironic that students at campuses do not come under the laws against harassment,” said Asiya Nasir.

“This is why I have tried to introduce the amendment so that we cover educational institutions and protect girls against harassment,” she insisted.

Officials from the law and justice ministry, however, advised the committee that laws against harassment of women cannot be extended to educational institutions.

The officials said President Mamnoon Hussain had rejected a complaint filed by a female student of Quaid-e-Azam University on the grounds that the existing laws against harassment were applicable in government offices only.

The student had appealed to President Hussain, who is also the chancellor of the university, in 2014. The president had sought the law ministry’s input on the issue, which had suggested that students are not protected under the Harassment Act and that the university can only penalise errant employees under their own disciplinary rules.

The officials argued that students and other women are protected against harassment under a separate criminal law (Section 509 and Section 454), so there is no need to amend the bill against harassment.

“Lawmakers are here to make and amend laws," Nasir later commented in reaction to the development. "Do we not need laws for domestic workers too? The sky will not fall if we extend the laws to domestic workers and students,” she maintained.

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Comments (10) Closed



TruthsPEAKS Feb 27, 2017 05:35pm

Most of the Children of politicians and influential families are not studying in Pakistan and therefore will not be harassed, hence the law is useless and can be scrapped.

Long live blindness, sher aya sher aya, bhutto zinda hai..

Harmony-1© Feb 27, 2017 05:42pm

Disgraceful behaviour from these Parliamentarians. Misogyny is on top of the list when it comes to describing these men!

iRFAN Feb 27, 2017 05:59pm

@TruthsPEAKS I honestly agree with you. Not unless we get rid of Sher and Bhutto, we are going nowhere.

Muhammad Abdul Moiz Feb 27, 2017 05:59pm

Why do we need to amend harassment laws at workplace and educational institutes when there are already harassment laws in criminal law?

Ma Feb 27, 2017 06:34pm

Time to name all the parlimentarians who opposed the bill.

Alba Feb 27, 2017 07:30pm

@Harmony-1© .... What are you going to do about it? Complain here? That's all?

Studentsindhi Feb 27, 2017 07:44pm

While section 509 ppc is understandably related to women harassment , one wonders over the scope of 454 ppc which is quite clearly about house tresspassing with a special emphasis on theft as the object of offence . How do you apply that on harrassment ?

Alien Feb 27, 2017 07:50pm

Why do they don't have daughters...

Harmony-1© Feb 27, 2017 08:31pm

@Alba - What do you suggest to do? And what are you doing about it?

Shah Feb 28, 2017 08:45am

I think the focus should on the implementaion of the laws, new laws will only be in tbe papers. The laws already exist, implenent these with full force and there will be no incident.